An infection of the lungs that causes inflammation of the air sacs is pneumonia. What causes pneumonia and symptoms include coughing with phlegm or pus, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing due to the fluid or pus filling the air sacs. The cause of pneumonia can be a variety of organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. There are different severity levels of pneumonia, from mild to life-threatening. Infants and young children, people over the age of 65, and those with health problems are at the greatest risk.
What Causes Pneumonia | What are The symptoms of pneumonia?
There are many germs that can cause pneumonia. We breathe in bacteria and viruses most commonly. The body usually protects your lungs from these germs. However, these germs can sometimes defeat your immune system, even if you are generally healthy. Depending on the germ that caused it and where the infection occurred, pneumonia can be classified into various types. A person’s health, age, and the type of germ causing the infection can affect the signs and symptoms of pneumonia. Mild cough or cold often has similar signs and symptoms but lasts longer.
Pneumonia may cause the following symptoms:
- Coughing or breathing causes chest pain
- Adults 65 and older may experience confusion or changes in mental awareness.
- The phlegm may be produce by coughing
- The fatigue
- Shaking chills, fever, and sweat
- People with weak immune systems and adults over 65 years of age have lower than average body temperatures
- Diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
- Breathing difficulties
There may be no signs of infection in newborns or infants. There may also be nausea, a fever, a cough, fatigue, and difficulty breathing.
Choosing the right time to see a doctor
Do not delay seeing your doctor if you have breathing problems, chest pain, or a persistent fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit (39 degrees Celsius).
A doctor should be consulte by people in these high-risk groups:
- Over 65-year-olds
- A child under the age of 2 showing signs or symptoms
- A person with a weakened immune system or an underlying health condition
- Chemotherapy patients and people taking immunosuppressive medications
Many older adults and people with chronic lung disease and heart failure are susceptible to pneumonia.
What are The causes?
Pneumonia can be caused by a variety of germs. In the air we breathe, bacteria and viruses are the most common. These germs are usually prevent from infecting your lungs by your body. Even if your health is generally good, these germs can sometimes overwhelm your immune system.
Depending on the type of germ causing the infection and where the infection occurred, pneumonia is classified.
Pneumonia acquired in the community
Most pneumonia cases are caused by community-acquired pneumonia. Health care facilities or hospitals are not involved in this condition. There are several possible causes:
- The bacteria. Streptococcus pneumonia most commonly causes bacterial pneumonia in the U.S. If you have had a cold or the flu, you might catch this type of pneumonia. As a result, a condition may be known as lobar pneumonia, which involves the lung’s lobe.
- Organisms that resemble bacteria. Mycoplasma pneumonia can also cause pneumonia. In contrast to other types of pneumonia, this type usually produces milder symptoms. Informally, walking pneumonia is a mild form that does not require bed rest.
- Fungi. Inhaling large amounts of the organisms, having chronic health problems, or a weakened immune system, are the most likely causes of this type of pneumonia. Geographical differences determine the types of fungi responsible for this disease.
- COVID-19 is one of these viruses. In addition to cold and flu viruses, pneumonia can be caused by some viruses. Children under the age of five are most likely to develop pneumonia from viruses. Viruses usually cause mild pneumonia. There are, however, some cases in which it can become extremely serious. In some cases, Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) can lead to severe pneumonia.
Pneumonia acquired in a hospital
When someone is hospitalized for another illness, they may catch pneumonia. As a result of antibiotic resistance in the bacteria responsible for hospital-acquired pneumonia, and the fact that patients who get it are already sick, hospital-acquired pneumonia can be very serious. Intensive care unit patients on breathing machines (ventilators) are more likely to develop this type of pneumonia.
Pneumonia acquired in a health care facility
An outpatient clinic, such as a kidney dialysis center, or a long-term care facility can contract healthcare-acquired pneumonia. It is possible to contract healthcare-acquired pneumonia from bacteria that are more resistant to antibiotics than those that cause hospital-acquired pneumonia.
Acute aspiration pneumonia
A person with aspiration pneumonia inhales food, liquids, vomit, or saliva into their lungs. Aspiration is more likely to occur in the event of a brain injury, swallowing problem, or excessive alcohol or drug use.
Factors affecting risk
Anyone can get pneumonia. However, the two most at-risk age groups are:
- Two-year-olds and younger
- Those over 65 years of age
Among the other risk factors are:
- The process of being hospitalized. When you’re on a ventilator (a machine that helps you breathe), you’re more likely to get pneumonia in an intensive care unit.
- A chronic illness. Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and heart disease put you at greater risk for pneumonia.
- Smoking. Your body’s natural defenses against pneumonia-causing bacteria and viruses are damage by smoking.
- Immune system weakness or suppression. At risk are people with HIV/AIDS, organ transplant recipients, chemotherapy patients, or people taking long-term steroids.
Pneumonia can be complicate by several complications, especially in those at high risk. These complications include:
- Bacteremia is the presence of bacteria in the bloodstream. The infection can spread to other organs if bacteria enter the bloodstream from the lungs.
- Breathing problems. You may have trouble breathing in enough oxygen if you have severe pneumonia or chronic lung disease. The healing of your lung may require hospitalization and a ventilator (breathing machine).
- Pleural effusion is the accumulation of fluid around the lungs. The pleura (the thin layer of tissue that lines the lungs and chest cavity) may become inflamed from pneumonia. It may be necessary to drain the fluid through a chest tube or remove it surgically if it becomes infected.
- Abscess of the lungs. The formation of pus in a cavity of the lung causes an abscess. The most common treatment for an abscess is antibiotics. Sometimes, the pus must be remove with surgery or drainage using a long needle or tube.
To prevent pneumonia, follow these steps:
- Vaccinate yourself. The flu and pneumonia can both be prevented with vaccines. If you are interested in getting these shots, talk to your doctor. Even if you recall receiving a pneumonia vaccine in the past, reviewing your vaccination status with your doctor is essential.
- Vaccinate your children. Doctors recommend a different pneumonia vaccine for children younger than 2 and ages 2 to 5 who are particularly susceptible to pneumococcal disease. Vaccination is also recommended for children who attend group child care centers. For children older than six months, doctors also recommend flu shots.
- Keep your body clean. Keep your hands clean or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers to prevent respiratory infections that can lead to pneumonia.
- Avoid smoking. Infections caused by respiratory infections are more likely to occur if you smoke.
- Maintain a healthy immune system. Exercise regularly, eat healthily, and get enough sleep.
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